updated 09:10 am EST, Thu March 1, 2007
Apple Zune-Like Patent
Apple today was successfully granted a patent for an "electronic device formed with doubleshot injection molding." Although seemingly dry, the patent (originally filed in August 2005) effectively refers to the technique used in Microsoft's Zune player to create its distinctive glowing border effect, creating two differently colored walls out of a single plastic shell. The patent suggests that Apple has at least explored the idea of pursuing what Microsoft ultimately chose as the defining aspect of its music player's style.
More details and selected photos can be found after the break.
The exact use of the technique, however, remains unclear. While images from the patent suggest that the technique was intended for Apple's first-generation iPod shuffle, the shipping model used only a single layer of plastic -- raising questions about either a canceled redesign for the screenless player or the use of doubleshot in future iPod models.
Apple has used a somewhat similar practice with the current iMac and iPod designs, each of which has a clear layer on top of a solid white or black. However, neither of these has been covered by today's grant, which assumes that all but a small opening is covered by the shell.